When Life Blows Up on Every Level.

Via Tamara Star
on Feb 10, 2011
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3 1/2 years ago mine did on all levels and I survived.

I make it a rule to never take advice from someone that hasn’t been there.  So I’ll tell you what happened for me, and then I’ll tell you what I did to get through my own tunnel of Hell.

In a 30 day period I lost everything. Money, love, health, a baby,  pets, security and pride.

My boyfriend at the time broke up with me while I stood holding the still dripping, positive pregnancy pee stick.  His response to having a baby with me was to end our relationship and share that he hoped to tile his kitchen that summer and travel. I lost the baby at 8.5 weeks and suffered from an extreme crash in hormones.  Being in my early 40′s, I knew that this was probably the last chance to have a child.  My body was a mess and my head was scrambled with hormones.

To make matters worse; 2 days after losing the baby I learned that my bank accounts had been emptied.  I had 40 cents  in my pocket when I stood at that ATM on an early July morning.  Someone with revenge in their scorned heart sued me out of state and due to a loop hole in the serving process, I never received notice and didn’t show up to defend myself.  When you don’t show up it’s as though you’re admitting guilt and a judgement is issued.   Being lax in checking my mail because I had no real bills coming in other than utilities; these notices of judgement mixed in with “we’re garnishing your accounts” sat un-read in my lock box for 4 weeks. In those 4 weeks every dime I had from every account was emptied.

A week later, I was faced with putting my 16 year old pet down, only to be followed by the rapid decline of my other 15 year old pet 10 days later.  If you’re like me, pets are family. This was a loss beyond words.

With no money, a huge judgement and a whopping 700$ in personal credit card debt, I had to declare bankruptcy. An attorney said I could fight it; but I had no money to even try.  I felt shame and I felt embarrassment.  Now I was one of “those” irresponsible people I had previously judged that declare bankruptcy.

My health was shot, my mind was a mess, my heart was broken and I had 40 cents to my name.  My father died years ago and I had been the one helping my mother financially.  I was, in my own words~lost without back up.

In ancient cultures The Dark Night of the Soul was understood as a time of transformation.  A time when your personal strength was tested and the knowledge you’ve gained over the 1st half of your life is called out and hopefully utilized.

In our culture it’s considered a Mid Life crisis.  We get face lifts and sports cars. Couples run screaming from other couples divorcing, neighbors turn their head as houses go into foreclosure, and fair weather friends back away quickly.  Rather than an opportunity to be the phoenix rising, we’re viewed as contagious drama.

Instead of community support and wise elders to lean on, people in this culture back away and we are left to suffer alone with shame.

In my case only a small handful of people knew, while most thought I was suddenly nuts.  In the past I had been the person that others leaned on for advice and even financial help.  Now I was left with nothing.  I was an empty vessel without a financially secure family to lean on for support. I looked like hell and felt worse.

When I woke in the morning, I wasn’t sure what to mourn.  The relationship or the baby?  My pets or my financial security?  My health or the fact I could be homeless in a week?  FYI; my biggest fear in life had been ending up on the streets without support~irrational but at this time, a reality.

I can tell you that the grip of your biggest fear in the face of utter despair is a cold sharp knife that cuts deeply.

What I know for sure is that if you’ve always been the strong one that other people lean on, there is a lot of growth that comes from asking for help.  I learned who my real friends were and I learned that I was loveable even when I wasn’t perfect.  Had it gotten to the point of my moving in with family or friends, I know there would have been growth from that time.  Perhaps healing with family happens when someone has to move home, as humbling as that may look in the moment.

The thought of selling everything and starting over was in a tiny way, freeing.  I hear of people that after losing their homes and selling most everything feel free in a way they had never known. I realized that nothing material mattered. My biggest fear was losing my remaining 2 pets if I had to couch surf for a while.

I was so embarrassed that I held my secrets and pain inside for the most part.  I would meet friends for dinner and pretend that I wasn’t hungry since I had no money to spend.  When the hormonal imbalance would kick in and I would tear up, I would pretend that my contacts were bothering me and run to the bathroom.

I learned who the people in my life were that truly cared and were in tune with my subtle changes.  Lucky for me, a friend handed me some cash unsolicited to get by with while I got my head on straight. The generosity of this person rocked my world in a way that left me forever changed.  I realized the phrase “While you may only be one person in this world, you may be the world to one person” personally.

On a  business level, I’m required to be clear and strong as I coach high leveled executives on the next step in their career and life~ironic eh?  You can’t be broken and effective at the same time; yet I did learn the phrase “fake it till you make it” by heart. By faking my strength, even my smile, I slowly felt both again.

I witnessed the miracle of the universe all around me.  Suddenly those cereal boxes that came free in my Sunday paper were valuable.  Toothpaste samples at the grocery store were cherished and I learned to turn the shampoo bottle upside down to get every last drop. I  would go to the pet food store just to “look around” and grab a few of the free samples for my dog on the way out. With that cash in hand from my friend, I was able to cover my rent long enough to start billing in my business again; but extras weren’t available.  Gone were the monthly hair salon trips, out with the extras like cable, Internet, and dog treats.  I learned how wasteful I had been in my life with food, clothing, and coffee shop stops.  There was no money for anything other than college grade food.  I rode my bike a lot that summer not having the money for gas and reasoned with the bank’s car loan and my insurance agent for reduced monthly payments.  I learned to negotiate payments for utilities and witnessed the kindness of customer service agents when you admit your defeat.  Most of all I learned that if you’re willing to work with them in some way, most people will help you get by on your payments.

Each morning I forced myself to think of 3 things I was grateful for before letting my feet hit the carpet next to my bed.  If I didn’t do this, I would begin my day in the depressed way I had ended the day before.  Soon I started doing this before bed and found that my days got easier.  When the magnitude of my situation would hit mid day and I would start to crash; I would force myself to get outside, go for a walk and notice something beautiful.  When life is bleak even the smallest things like the song of a bird or the color of the sky can jar you up a notch.

Every morning before starting my work day, I would force myself to listen to or read something inspirational.  I couldn’t control the world around me but I could control my emotions.  Yes I cried a lot, but I would balance those moments with what I was grateful for and kept moving towards what I wanted~some stability again.

I watched my emotional state like a hawk.  If I felt desperate and scared, I would imagine my worst case scenario…worst case I would loan my dog and my cat to people I trusted and couch surf.  Worst case I would go on meds.  Worst case I would ask a friend if I could share dinner with them..  Once I knew my worst case scenario, I was able to relax a tiny bit and then I would focus on what I was grateful for…often times, the worst case scenario back up plan or the fact that my dog was laying here next to me ~loving me no matter what.

When life blows up there is a crystal clarity that occurs.  All of the issues that you’ve been hiding behind with your job or your money or your relationship are out there in the open.  I have clients that lose their jobs and realize that their marriage has been broken for years; knowledge that was hidden behind frequent business trips.

I also learned that once the blow up occurs and you share it with those close to you, it’s important to not keep telling your sad story.  If you do, that’s what you end up focusing on and it’s easy to feel like a victim.  Much better to focus on where you’re going and put your energy into moving forward.  This is the biggest mistake I see clients make~telling the same sad story over and over.

For me the hardest part was laying in bed alone during the middle of the night drenched in fear.  As I laid awake in terror, I learned to pray for help and learned to meditate so I could hear the answer.

Most of all I learned that when we’re broken, we’re really just broken open.  I was that seed that sits in the dark, damp earth waiting for spring; deciding in which direction to send my sprout once the season turned… and it did.


Volcano photo by http://www.solarnavigator.net/volcanoes.htm, all others by Freedigitalphotos.net Sprout by Rawich, woman’s face by graur codrin, sky by dan, knife by Keattikorn. phoenix rising from phoenixwithin.blogspot.com


About Tamara Star

Tamara Star believes happiness is not an end destination, but instead the ability to see the ordinary through eyes of wonder. Want her free tips and tricks for health, happiness and love? Click here. Receive her free 3 video series for clearing the slate for more love & happiness. Click here. She's an international best-selling author and the creator of the original 40-day Personal reboot program for women--a 6 week virtual deep dive into clearing the slate on what's blocking you. Registration is open NOW here. Tamara's global reach inspires women around the world through her programs, newsletters, and teachings. She's been featured on SiriusXM radio, Good Morning America, former Oprah producer LeGrande Green's GetBOLD radio, Dr. Brenda Wade's GoodLove Radio, Daybreak USA and News Australia. Connect with Tamara on her websiteFacebook or Twitter. Tamara's work had been translated into 6 languages and featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Positively Positive, Yahoo News, The News.com Australia, The Good Men Project, and Yoga Anonymous.


52 Responses to “When Life Blows Up on Every Level.”

  1. JER says:

    This is the most raw, vulnerable and beautiful thing I've ever read from you. Very touching and resonates with me very deeply right now. Thank you.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DailyTransformations, Red Fox. Red Fox said: When Life Blows Up on Every Level. http://bit.ly/g4bt5N […]

  3. ValerieMitchell says:

    You are incredible.

  4. Laura says:

    Standing ovation to you my friend for putting this all out there…. and for having the strength to rebuild after all that happened to you. I was there during that time and I can say it "happened to you" … you didn't "do" anything to get in that situation. And I think that is the most important lesson to us all.. not to judge those who have fallen on hard times. Many times it's just a product of circumstance – and it could happen to any one of us. Thanks for sharing your story in such a heart-felt and beautifully written way…. xoxo L

  5. Tamara says:

    Thank you so much. It was empowering to write and know those days have passed.

  6. Sara Y says:

    So proud of you! I stood before a sold out theatre last night for Ignite Bend. My topic: facing your fears. There is tremendous power in revealing the dark side of our souls. There is power is overcoming fears and obstacles. I imagine you'd say you are better having gone through hell. Sharing your story matters. Keep doing it. I, too, was SHOCKED by the response to your FB post. Why are people so callous and self-righteous? Anyway… thank you for sharing.

  7. Audrey Mangan says:

    This makes me incredibly thankful for my life right now, which is far from perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Beth says:


  9. Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing that.. there is something for everyone to learn from your experience.

  10. What an amazing journey! It's just to show how our attitude and state of mind will affect how we live a certain experience!
    Keep up the positive thinking. My favorite part (because I could relate to it) was about not telling your sad story over and over. I don't know why we seem to think that the more we talk about it the more chances it will get fixed!
    Thanks for the great article

  11. LasaraAllen says:

    Thanks for your honesty. It benefits all.

  12. mark k says:

    TK: thanks for writing this. It puts life in perspective and reminds me why I feel so grateful even in defeat.

  13. Tamara says:

    Thank you Shannon~Thank you for reading too.
    Clients can reach me through [email protected]

  14. Todd says:

    Authentic, Pure and Awesome …I call it emotionally undressing … and is usually very freeing. Good for you. And thank you …

  15. Jaclyn says:

    AMAZING story and it came right on time!
    I was diagnosed ith MS yesterday and was feeling broken and defeated but now i am counting my blessings
    thank you for your inspiration

  16. Tamara says:

    Jaclyn, i'm not a doctor but I do know that many people have benefited from a raw food cleanse to reduce the irritation around the nerve sheath. Sounds like Voodoo but I have seen big results. Ring Brigitte Mars, you can also find her on FB. If you email me at [email protected] i will get you her number. xo

  17. Tamara says:

    I never thought of it that way Todd~but my heart has felt so open and free since writing this….I guess there was still a layer of shame in there that was released. Perfectly stated…emotionally undressing. thank you for reading.

  18. This is the most powerful and beautiful thing I've ever read on EJ. Thanks so much for opening your heart and sharing your story Tamara!

  19. Tamara says:

    Thank you so much Chris. I appreciate your comment very much.

  20. Tamara says:

    Yes indeed you were there at the time and to me you were the world. Thank you for your enduring friendship. You’re a sister to my heart.

  21. kajyoga says:

    Hey jaclyn, Just wanted to chime in that Hilary Rubin healed herself from MS through yoga and lifestyle/diet changes. I highly recommend her, and think that she would be a great support in navigating the process.

  22. YesuDas says:

    Wow; as a person who's really struggling right now (and aren't we all?) this is a bracing wake-up call for me. Thank you for your courage and honesty.

    The last bit, about the seed, reminds me of the Principles of the Third Order of St. Francis, which begin:

    Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit"….In the example of his own sacrifice, Jesus reveals the secret of bearing fruit. In surrendering himself to death, he becomes the source of new life. Lifted from the earth on the cross, he draws all people to himself. Clinging to life causes life to decay; the life that is freely given is eternal.

  23. Tamara says:

    thank you for reading it audrey

  24. Tamara says:

    right? ~!
    Thank you for reading it Jennifer

  25. Tamara says:

    Thank you YesuDas
    Beautiful quote as well~thank you

  26. Tamara says:

    Coming from an open hearted powerful woman that you are~thank you. i appreciate that you read them and make comments, most of all that they resonate!

  27. april says:

    So beautiful…so needed…so amazing…thank you xoxoxo

  28. candicegarrett says:

    Several years ago I had a crisis like this. I plummeted, defeated, alone and lost. I learned what "fair weather friends " were and discovered the beauty and depth of love that others had for me. I lost everything and found everything again, newer, brighter and better. In the end, I had to go there to get here. I wouldn't change it, even if it took me years to recover.

  29. Brandi says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, pain and growth. It was odd reading it… the similarities, as I’ve had two miscarriages in five months (one at Christmas), “celebrated” my dad’s absence of ten years at midnight New Year’s Eve and had to say goodbye to my dog of sixteen years ten days later. I feel as if I’ve been torn to pieces. Yet I am whole.
    I leaned on others, I cried and I broke down, but I’m now detoxing and getting in touch with my body. Above all, even in the thick of grief, I was aware of one thing, there was one truth: there was an incredible beauty to grief and sadness. Perhaps there was no enjoyment in the pain, but the pain was intense and mysterious and passionate. It has its own beauty. Some think life is just full of pain and loss, but I think if we can learn to see the beauty of it then we can not only get through the loss, but feel enriched by it.
    And, I’m reminded that need to reconnect with yoga!

  30. Hilary Lindsay says:

    Contagious drama. All I can say is this breaks my heart and it was a generous offering that will resonate with many of us as we can relate in some tiny or total way. Thank you for sharing your story. I had just written my own version of this for myself a couple of days ago and I get it. I get all of it. I wish you love and a life of abundance in all you need to be happy. I have no doubt you will have that. It sounds like it's there already.

  31. Tamara says:

    Hilary, thank you for reading and for getting it. I'm glad you wrote your own~in a way it was completely liberating. I thought i had liberated myself from the shame and the fear years ago but this was a final piece. Someone above described it as Emotionally undressing and he was right. I say we all write our stories~share them or burn them but write them! xo

  32. Tamara says:

    I can feel that experience and the depth that came from it in your short paragraph. Thank you for sharing, one by one we seeds break open!

  33. Tamara says:

    wow, i'm sorry Brandi. The depth of pain we all feel at times blows my mind. Our capacity to love and plummet into pain is unbelievable as humanbeings. Thank you for sharing your story and your aha moments. Yes to yoga…thank goodness for yoga!

  34. Tamara says:

    takes one to know one! thank you val xo

  35. Tamara says:

    Thank you Sara. I appreciate your reading this…yes, the posts on my wall seemed so insensitive to the homeless people. I figured it was time to "come out" with how close i came to being one myself. It broke my heart to read some of the people i know to leave cold comments in regards to helping them..

  36. Tamara says:

    thank you Beth

  37. Tamara says:

    That was my hope Pam. If anyone can benefit from knowing they're not alone, that we all go through the dark night of the soul, and it is possible to survive, than it was worth it..

  38. Tamara says:

    Thanks for recognizing that Janice. It took a long long time to get past it all in my head fully. Even writing it free'd me up in a way I didn't realize still needed to happen.

  39. Tamara says:

    Thank you Mark, yep, it definitely puts it into perspective…a lesson i learned for sure. thank you for reading it and thank you for reminding me to be grateful even in defeat. it's easy to forget that!

  40. Tamara says:

    Thank you for reading it april. It seemed time to write it…so many people are suffering alone.

  41. Randall Smith says:

    Yeah Yeah Yeah!! You win! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Tamara says:

    thanks for reading! It definitely made me appreciate the little things in life~even when I thought i already did. xo

  43. Tamara says:

    Thank you Lasara

  44. Tamara says:

    Thanks for reading! Please share. xo

  45. […] wrote about my life when it blew up a few years ago in my post “When Life Blows Up on Every Level” and realized after writing it that I may have survived that time; but I haven’t fully moved past […]